Exercise Tips for Adults and Seniors
The benefits of exercise are profound regardless of age. As we get older, our bodies may be less able to perform strenuous activities as when we were younger, but this is not to say that physical activity is no longer appropriate for us. Exercise does not have to be strenuous for it to confer benefits to our physical and emotional health. Just a little bit of it can have great impacts. Exercise can help us lose weight, gain strength, improve cardiovascular functions, reduce anxiety and depression, as well as regulate our sleeping patterns. In today’s blog, we will describe some of the benefits of exercise, what kinds of activities you can incorporate into your everyday life, and any modifications to make to the activities so that exercise is more accessible and approachable.
Exercise as a Part of Everyday Life
As we age, we tend to put our foot on the brakes when it comes to physical inactivity. Some people are afraid they may hurt themselves, their jobs may exhaust them during the day, or they may be dealing with an injury. Fortunately, exercise does not have to be an intense, strenuous process. Exercises exist that are easy on the joints and pose little to no risk of injury.
The first part of incorporating exercise into your everyday life is to privilege it. That is to say, you must first plan out the time when you would like to exercise and incorporate it into your schedule at least three to four days a week. Planning or writing it down into your schedule will help you stay structured and to recognize exercise as a goal that needs to be accomplished. Remember, that you do not need to block out three hours a day for exercise—twenty to thirty minutes a day is a perfect and completely reasonable amount of time. Secondly, make it a habit. The more you hold yourself accountable in the beginning of any exercise plan, the more likely this will develop into a habit that you will maintain over time.
Exercise Tips to Consider
Start Slow: With any new activity, you should ease into it. Do not overexert yourself as this may result in injury. The key to exercise is to do it as if you will be doing it for the rest of your life. Exercise should be challenging, but safe. For example, if you want to start running again, try to begin your program by walking a mile. After one week, try jogging that mile, until you get to where you want to be.
Incorporate Resistance Training: This is also called weightlifting. Lifting weights can help you gain strength, flexibility, and help you become less prone to injuries. This is because putting your muscles under a reasonable amount of stress causes them to adapt and change to this stress by becoming stronger. You do not have to lift very heavy to realize the benefits of weight training. It is also a common misconception that weight training is strenuous and puts a lot of wear and tear on your body. If you lift smartly, weight lifting is one of the safest practices you can do. The key to lifting weights is to use proper form. If you have a gym membership or are thinking about getting one, consult with one of the fitness experts and ask them about some of the basics of proper form. They are there to guide you.
Don’t Forget Cardio: Cardio is great because there are so many varieties of it. Low-impact cardio includes walking, cycling, swimming, and water aerobics. When you perform any cardio, you want to make sure your heartrate increases, and it should increase to the point where you can maintain the cardio activity for at least 20 to 30 minutes.
Listen to Your Body: If you are performing some kind of physical activity and you begin feeling any pain, dizziness, or sickness, then stop immediately. Exercise should not be acutely painful, although feeling “a burn” in your muscles is normal. Also, if there are some days where you are exhausted and do not feel like exercise, then it’s okay to take a day off. You know your body best and can often sense when you are not feeling up for it. You can always go back to it the next day.
Before starting any exercise program, please consult with your doctor who can identify any risks or point out any other helpful guides for you to follow. If you have any other questions, please call ElderCare at Home at 888-285-0093 or visit our website.